How to Dice an Onion
Although I’m an enthusiastic cook, I haven’t received any formal training and so much of what I do is self-taught and probably wrong. For years I chopped onions in a sort of random fashion, ending up with lots of misshapen lumps – fine for plonking into a stew or something, not so great for burgers, salsa, etc. I’m happy to admit that this was purely laziness on my part – I didn’t need to do it neater, so why bother? It tastes the same, right?
A year or so back I finally decided to learn how to do it properly, and of course it’s no more difficult than doing it badly so now I use this method every time. In dishes such as in a burger or kofta kebab, having very small, neatly diced onion pieces is essential so that they don’t break apart while cooking.
In fact, it was whilst chopping onions for making meatballs that I decided to snap a few pictures – I figured that if I didn’t know how it was done then there must be plenty of other people in the same boat and this might be of use. If not, no big deal!
The first step is to chop off one end of the onion, leaving the ‘hairy’ root part:
Next, slice the onion in half:
Carefully slice through most of the onion from the cut end, to leave a series of slits. Do not go all the way to the root. This keeps it in one piece:
Cut across the slices, holding the onion by the root part to keep it steady:
You don’t need to get all the way to the root, it’s OK to throw out the excess if you’re aiming for neatness.
Using a sharp knife is important so that you cut through the layers of skin neatly rather than bludgeoning your way, which will stop it being a tidy job.
If you want to be a working chef you’ll need to go much further than this with your knife skills, but for most people cooking at home this should be good enough. Hope this is useful!